Social Studies Bell Ringer/Board Work with Daily Social Studies

9:02 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Bellwork is something I have been doing in English for almost ten years now since I student taught, but I haven't been doing it near as long in my social studies classes; probably about half as long.

This idea was spawned from the need for bell work when I taught middle school social studies.  I needed to get their fidgety little bodies going.  I have continued to use this in my high school social studies classes with much success.

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The first thing you need is one of my Daily Geography Practice and This Day in History Sheets, which are available on my TPT store for FREE!

Daily History/Geography Practice and This Day in History Sheet Freebie

If you only want to do one of these ideas, you can use my One Month Warm Up Answer Sheet, which is also free.


One Month Warm Up Answer Sheet


The other product I use for this bell work is my own weekly geography packets.
I have a free sample for one week.

Free Daily Geography Questions


There are a total of 10 months available individually or bundled.


Daily Geography Bundle

I have used this same set for social studies classes from 6th-12th grade for everything from world studies to Advanced Placement U.S. Government.  I just think that the skills are so timeless: using maps, higher-level thinking, research, and general knowledge to be Culturally Literate.



The only other thing you will need it an internet connection to This Day in History by History.com  History.com does a daily video of what happened today in history.  It also provides a comprehensive list of events and links to further reading on the events.  For example: On today, August 8th, in the year 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius erupted.



I copy the Daily Geography with the This Day in History sheet on the back.  These then become the students' bell work for the week.   You will notice the Daily Geography sheets are numbered by month a week.  The other sheets have places for the date.  These are really mostly for me, as the teacher to keep track of what I am looking at.

When they come into my class, they use whatever resources they have (textbook, dictionary, atlas, almanacs, phone) to work through the answers to the geography questions for the day.  There is usually a fair amount of talking and helping each other as the students work through these questions.

I have one of these for each table group.


When they finish the two questions for the day, we talk about what happened on this day in history.  Now, we could just have a conversation about this stuff, but I have found that having them write something down helps move it to memory.  Now I do not expect them to recount every item that we talk about nor do I test them on this, but it gives us a chance to talk about interesting things that we might not get to in our regular class.  I mean how often do you really get to talk about Mt. Vesuvius?

Some days we watch the video, but some days we don't.  Also, there are days when nothing on the list of events strikes me, so we don't talk about anything.  I usually only pick 1-4 items on the list because I find some days have way too much.

To save myself some headaches over the years, I have printed out a few of my favorites and keep them in a binder chronologically.  This way if I am gone or the internet goes down (that never happens at your school, right?) I am not left in a lurch.

Recently my mother got me this as a gift:



Overall, my social studies bell work accomplishes several things:

1) Students are engaged from the start of class.
2) Students are learning research and problem-solving skills when they don't readily know an answer
3) Students are becoming culturally literate citizens
4) Students are getting a chance to discover interesting tidbits of knowledge not normally covered in class content.

I strongly encourage you to give this a try.
I would love to hear what other secondary teachers use for bell work.





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